Portugal, which has so far registered 446,606 cases and 7,377 deaths from the virus, eased restrictions around Christmas but cracked down again on New Year’s Eve with a ban on travel between municipalities and public gatherings.
But the number of cases is rising fast, with Portugal’s President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa saying over the weekend he was worried about the increase in infections after the holiday season.
To tackle the outbreak, lawmakers will vote later on Wednesday to extend the state of emergency, which ends on Thursday, for an additional week until Jan. 15. It is likely to be approved.
“There’s again immense pressure on the national health service and we are trying to respond.” Health Minister Marta Temido told reporters at a time over 500 COVID-19 patients are in intensive care units. “We need everyone’s help.”